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Sun, Dec 21, 2014

BRAGG: What are you reading this summer?

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I’m a book junkie. My husband, Tommy, is a book junkie, too.

I prefer to get mine for free, primarily from Linebaugh Library, but Tommy prefers buying his.

Most of his are of the paperback variety and come from McKay’s Book Store in Knoxville, his favorite venue when we go there.

 But there is a Nashville location – and on occasion I’ll buy one or two “how-to’s” on oil painting if they seem instructional.

He recently used his iPad to read while traveling and decided he’d rather have a paperback. He said the iPad weighed more than a book, and he found himself reading compulsively, as if he were playing a

computer game.

Tommy prefers gore-and-blood thrillers, while my tastes run all over the place, as I’ve previously written.

Lately, I’ve been interested in biographies of people whose lives are very different from my own.

They include Alexandra Fuller’s “Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness,” a sad memoir of her childhood in war-riddled Zimbabwe, “A Charmed Life ... Growing Up in McBeth’s Castle” by Liza Campbell, and “We Used to Own the Bronx: Memoirs of a Debutante” by Eva Pell, a scathing attack on New England upper-class society by a socialite who was raised by hired help instead of her parents.

I have enjoyed “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles, a fictional tale of a New York working girl in the 1930s and “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats,” by Jan-Phillippe Sendker.

On the bookshelf are: “The Night Circus” by Ellen Morgenstern, “Signs of Life: A Memoir” by Natalie Taylor and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs.

I am enthralled with the graphics on the home page of the Linebaugh Library. Scroll down the home page and click on Book News. You will be rewarded with a colorful carousel of current titles that just beckon to be sampled.

I’ve  read “Calico Joe” by John Grisham and “The Expats” by Chris Pavone and found both to be somewhat mediocre, although they did provide me with entertainment for three days.

Also featured in Book News is “How to Cook Everything: The Basics” by Mark Bittman.

I have Bittman’s 2008 “How to Cook Everything,” and it is my go-to book for anything new that I want to try.

Bittman is a self-described minimalist who appears frequently on “The Today Show,” and among my favorite finds in that book were pad Thai and chocolate sauce.

My children think that Bittman’s chocolate sauce is the best they have ever tasted, and he also has excellent, yet simple, recipes for ice cream in case you have that Cusiniart ice cream maker that I so frequently rave about.

To research other possibilities for summer reading, click on one of the many sub-topics on Linebaugh’s website such as Book Clubs, Library Newsletters and Staff Picks.

And if you’re not sure they’ll appeal to you, go to Amazon.com, enter the book title under the subcategory Books, and see how other readers rated it by clicking to the right of the yellow stars on Customers Reviews.

These comments might further help you make up your mind.

I stumbled across another unlikely source for books when I was buying disposable foil containers at one of the local Dollar General stores.

After my first trip, I came home with: “My Father Married Your Mother,” a book of stories about step-families that was less than encouraging, “The Overnight Socialite,” a quick chic-lit read that made me smile, and “Madness under the Royal Palms: Chronicling Life and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach,” a town that was deeply affected by Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. I also read “The Wizard of Lies” about Madoff – interesting, though very sad.

What’s not to like about finding a book for $1?

I’ve already shared three of them with my daughter Beth, and we’re both looking forward to chancing upon more.

I hope some of these suggestions will lead you to something that might entertain you or might show you where you can go to find some of your own.

E-mail me at jbragg@murfreesboropost.com to keep me posted.

‘Til next week.
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Mrs. Murfreesboro
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Jeanne Bragg, Mrs Murfreesboro, Voices
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